Act­ing in his Blood

Rebel turned stage stal­wart Sean Jones tells of his tear­away teens... and flat-shar­ing with Ewan McGre­gor

Bangor Mail - - YOUR GUIDE -

AREBEL with­out a cause per­ma­nently ex­pelled from school at 16, the fu­ture was look­ing bleak for the young as­pir­ing ac­tor.

With a deeply in­grained is­sue with au­thor­ity, hell-raiser Sean Jones re­signed him­self to a job in the lo­cal fac­tory.

But when a chance op­por­tu­nity as a stage hand landed on his lap, lit­tle did he know this job clean­ing and paint­ing sets would lead to stage star­dom.

Speak­ing ahead of his home­com­ing date in Rhyl this month, Jones, now 47, re­calls a tur­bu­lent youth and how be­ing booted out of school was the best thing to hap­pen to his ca­reer: “School just wasn’t made for lads like me. I thought I was some sort of rebel. I ended up be­ing chucked out of Den­bigh High at 16.

“I wasn’t a bad lad, but I was just a bit of a smart ar*e and was al­ways bunk­ing off. In fact, me and a few other lads got carted off by the po­lice for climb­ing on the school roof.

“On the day I was kicked out, I was ac­tu­ally skip­ping school, I had been shop­ping in Chester, and found out when I bumped into a mate from my class on the way back walk­ing down Ruthin Road and he told me. I had to go the next day know­ing full well I wouldn’t be go­ing back.

“It was dif­fer­ent back then. There was no drama on the cur­ricu­lum. I knew I wanted to act but when I asked for ca­reer ad­vice, the head­teacher told me that I would never be an ac­tor. In hind­sight, I think that was the best thing he could have said to me.

“I’ve al­ways needed some­thing to rebel against, and I knew from that point I had to prove him wrong.

“Af­ter I got booted out of school, I joined a YTS scheme at Cl­wyd Thea- tre in Mold. It was that or work in a wool fac­tory in Den­bigh. Both me, and Danny Tay­lor – the lad who plays my older brother in Blood Brothers – wasn’t the star he is now and it was so strange see­ing the Ewan we knew sud­denly ap­pear­ing on posters and on TV. “I don’t think he’d be very happy if I we worked as stage hands. We did all sorts, but do­ing the scheme meant we could also take part in the Youth The­atre in the even­ings.

“When I saw all the other kids from youth the­atre ap­ply­ing for drama schools, I just fol­lowed suit. I had no qual­i­fi­ca­tions or any­thing. But I got ac­cepted for Guild­hall School of Mu­sic and Drama in North Lon­don. I couldn’t be­lieve it.

“I was there at the same time as Damian Lewis and Daniel Craig, and Ewan McGre­gor was in the year above me. I ac­tu­ally shared a flat with Ewan for a short while. Ob­vi­ously back then he shared tales of de­bauch­ery with you, but let’s just say, when I’m in­volved, well, I al­ways get up to shenani­gans...

“It was a com­plete cross-sec­tion of so­ci­ety in the school.

“Damien Lewis came in from Eton, and you had me, some tear­away who didn’t even fin­ish sec­ondary school. But I can say some­thing, the youth the­atre at Mold must have a de­cent rep­u­ta­tion. From the 28 or so en­rolled at the same time as me, four were from Mold.”

Jones has been play­ing the role of Mickey in Willy Rus­sell’s Blood Brothers since 1999. The show tells of twin boys sep­a­rated at birth, re­united by a twist of fate and a mother’s se­cret.

Born and bred in Den­bighshire, Jones has a soft spot for Rhyl’s Pav­il­ion The­atre, al­though he is aware that the town is of­ten sub­ject to a neg­a­tive rep­u­ta­tion, which was ap­par­ently ev­i­dent when the venue was named as a tour date for the show: “I re­mem­ber when we first started tour­ing, when peo­ple saw we had Rhyl on our tour, they started pulling their faces, clearly hav­ing this pre­con­ceived no­tion about the place.

“Any­way, af­ter the first show there, the at­mos­phere blew them all away. Rhyl gets so much stick, but hon­estly, af­ter that first show, we all love com­ing back.

“It also helps that the own­ers are so friendly. They take the p*ss out of me all the time, they’re like a sec­ond fam­ily. They were the ones that asked me to come back in the Win­ter to be the comic in the Christ­mas pan­tos each year.

“If they hadn’t have asked me to do that, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have come back to live in Wales.”

Sean Jones as Mickey in Blood Brothers, main, and in panto at Rhyl Pav­il­ion, be­low

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